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Retail Report: Western retailers increase farmed salmon purchases

Eastern cities, Seattle top markets for salmon sales

April 05, 2011

Salmon continues to gain popularity as consumers seek healthful meal options from the grocery store. As one of the highest-selling species, salmon gained dollar sales in 2010 across the United States. The finfish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, contributed 12.9 percent to seafood department sales during the 52 weeks ending Dec. 25, 2010, and accounted for 36.1 percent dollar share of the finfish category.

Nationally, weekly supermarket salmon sales (farmed and wild) averaged $807 per store, up 2.2 percent from the prior year. Each U.S. region increased salmon sales in 2010. The highest average weekly salmon sales were in the Eastern region at $1,231 per store, up 1.5 percent from the prior year. The greatest growth in weekly salmon sales occurred in the Central region, which increased 3.3 percent to $750 per store. The West sold more in weekly sales than the national salmon average with $920 per store, with an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the prior year. Finally, the South region had the lowest average weekly dollar sales at $577 per store, up 3 percent from the prior year, as well as the lowest dollar contribution to seafood department dollar sales at 10.6 percent.

It’s no surprise that the West region had the greatest share of wild salmon (40 percent) compared to the other regions, but the big news in retail salmon sales is the West was the only region to decrease per-store-per-week dollar sales of wild salmon compared to the prior year, down 3.5 percent. In addition, sales of farmed salmon in the West increased 3.6 percent. The retailers in this region appear to have increased their sourcing of farmed salmon over wild.

Farmed salmon is predominant for U.S. salmon sales, accounting for 72.9 percent dollar share, and it increased in all U.S. regions in 2010. The East region had the largest share of farmed salmon (81.7 percent) followed by the South region (76 percent). The East region also had the highest average weekly sales of farmed salmon at $1,005 per store after an increase of 0.6 percent from the prior year.

The Central region most closely resembled the national average, with 74.7 percent dollar share of farmed salmon, and had the greatest increase in sales of farmed salmon, up 4.4 percent in dollars per store.

The South region had the greatest increase in wild salmon, up 13.7 percent, while farmed salmon sales in the South remained flat compared to the previous year.

Examining the entire salmon category’s overall contribution to seafood department sales, salmon in the West posted the largest dollar contribution with 17.7 percent. The Central region followed with 13.7 percent dollar contribution to department. And while the East region had the highest average sales, the salmon subcategory contributed 12.3 percent to seafood department dollars in this region, where other finfish, such as cod and haddock, are more popular.

Weekly salmon sales in 2010 trended similarly to 2009. The Lenten holiday had healthier salmon sales in 2010 compared to the previous year. Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, had one of the largest spikes in weekly salmon sales at $963 per store. However, the highest sales were during the week of July 24, 2010, with $1,006 per store. Similar to the previous year, salmon had the lowest sales during the week of Thanksgiving at $569 per store, when consumers turned toward traditional holiday proteins in the meat department.

While salmon traditionally performs well in the East region, the top 10 salmon markets ranged across the East, West and Central regions. The Hartford-New Haven, Conn., market had the strongest weekly salmon sales with $1,377 per store, after an increase of 4.2 percent from the previous year. Seattle closely followed with $1,370 average salmon dollars, a 2.5 percent increase from the prior year. Boston, New York and Philadelphia rounded out the top five salmon scan-track markets, all gaining dollars from the previous year. Minneapolis was the sixth top market after a 7.5 percent decline in dollars per store/week to $1,240. Albany and Buffalo-Rochester, N.Y., and San Francisco (No. 7 to No. 9) also lost average dollars compared to 2009. Finally, Denver wrapped up the top 10 markets with an increase in weekly sales of 5.9 percent to earn $1,161 per store. This shows that while salmon sales exhibit regional differences, it also plays well in many foodie markets.

This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, an independent consulting firm in Chicago focused on innovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for Dec. 26, 2009, through Dec. 25, 2010, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63.1 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group FreshFacts®, powered by Nielsen. For more information, contact Kelli Beckel at (773) 929-7013, or e-mail kellib@perishablesgroup.com.

April 2011 - SeaFood Business 

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